Spa vs. Grooming, what’s the difference anyway?

In the past you might have purchased grooming products to sell in your store or use in your grooming area, now, you buy spa items. You might be wondering what’s the difference between grooming & spa, and how can you explain those differences to your customers and justify the higher price point?

Grooming focuses on one aspect of the dog- a temporary external appearance. Spa (which is an acronym for Sanitas Per Aquas- healing through water) recognizes that beauty is much more than skin deep. So really, you’re selling much more than spa products, you’re selling a life style by:

1. Focusing on the inside & outside health of the dog – overall health can’t be achieved by just keeping your dog clean (although it certainly helps), dogs (& humans) must also pay attention to their internal well-being by eating a healthy all natural diet, like that from The Honest Kitchen , taking vitamins, herbal elixirs and herbal supplements.

2. Appealing to all of the senses – spa products stimulate smell, sight, taste and even hearing. Aromatherapy is commonly associated with the spa experience, and while smell is just one of the applications of aromatherapy , it is a powerful one.  Spa products generally contain essential oils, which are much more therapeutic (and expensive) than synthetic fragrances. Sound and music are also important and there are many CDs available specifically designed to help calm dogs like that from Alpha for Pets .

3. Taking care of the dog’s mental well-being – dogs get nervous too (have you seen a dog during fireworks or a thunderstorm?) Products like Sleepytime Tonic can aid in relaxation and is also wonderful to use during travel, before trips to the vet & groomer, before obedience school (so the dog is more attentive) and during thunderstorms.

Another important thing we forget about is exercise. Without lots of exercise most dogs become bored, lethargic and generally unhappy. In fact, Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, said that the most three most important things to give youor dog, in order of importance, are exercise, obedience and affection.

4. Caring about the environment – Spa products are typically more natural, healing, and environmentally friendly. Products that contain botanical and herbal extracts are going to cost more than those that don’t. Beware of shampoos that are pink, purple or other bright colors. These have coloring in them and are not natural!

5. Offering High-Quality formula – Generally those who create spa products go to great length to make sure that the formula is not only efficacious but safe and gentle as well. Harsh products will be irritating to the skin and will not take into consideration the PH balance of a dog’s gentle skin

6. Caring for the Dog’s Emotional Well-Being It’s important that your customers spend quality time with their dogs. Light a candle. pour a glass of wine (for the human, not the dog) and give a doggie massage. Moisturize those paw pads , condition that coat , and chill out while the smell of lavender and chamomile wafts through the room. This will do the dog owners.

7. Providing Excellent Service – Consumers who purchase spa products generally expect some personal service. You have probably noticed that retailers don’t sell Chanel the same way they sell Cover Girl. Cover Girl is a low-cost self- service line which doesn’t require a lot of explanation while Chanel, and other high end products, comes with lots of demonstration, samples and personal service. Some customers appreciate that extra service, and will pay for it.

In a nutshell- ‘SPA’ is much more then a bottle of shampoo. It’s about creating a healthy lifestyle and spreads across many product types- grooming, food, vitamins/supplements, toys and even services like dog training.

Product Ideas

Happytails Canine Spa Line


Healthy Food
The Honest Kitchen

Alpha for Pets

Spa Robes
Barking Baby

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  1. I am looking for a source of purchasing dog shampoo in large quantities-I have a great Dane. Thanks! Norm

  2. those are some great ideas. They sound nice for me too – especially the Sleepy Time Tonic.

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